A belated Merry Christmas to all! My brother is visiting from California. He has now experienced first hand how busy we are at the bakery in the weeks leading up to December 25th, and I am hoping he will explain to my other family members why I can't seem to shop for Christmas gifts before Christmas.
I should have done my holiday shopping in November, before we got busy -- or better yet, July -- but I didn't. I am not really in the mood for Christmas the first week of November, let alone summer. I don't think that makes me a bad person.
Christmas is an extremely busy time at a bakery. That's a good thing.
Unfortunately, nobody wants to buy holiday treats early. Everyone wants them fresh. That's also a good thing, but only for the customer. We baked and decorated almost non-stop and late into the night the last weeks before Christmas. Thousands of cookies were made, all mixed, cut and decorated by hand by one of our elves (oops, I mean employees).
Christmas Eve day was spent handing out orders until almost 3pm. We had planned to close by noon but waited for three customers whose cakes and cookies were not yet picked up at 12. We had to call them and one actually accused us of "knocking off early."
Then a quick trip to Best Buy (looking for a gift for my hard-working brother, which of course they were sold out of).
Then we were late for Christmas Eve mass, which I had not had time to second check the starting time. I thought it was 5:30, turns out it started at 5:00.
Then we discovered only one restaurant (besides Waffle House) was open for dinner on Christmas Eve in Tuscaloosa. Olive Tree would not have been my first choice, but we were hardly in a position to pick and choose.
So the only family members who got gifts by Christmas were my sister's family in England, and only because I had the good sense to shop on Amazon.co.uk early in December. And that is only because I DIDN'T shop early for them last year. One on-time family at a time... Maybe next year it will be my brother's family in Michigan.
The shop will be closed for 10 days later in January, so I now have the luxury of shopping the after Christmas sales for Christmas gifts. Unlike December, January is a very slow month for bakeries. Many people go on a diet for at least a month after New Years.
So do as I say and not as I do. If your 2010 plans include a bakery, do your Christmas shopping early.